U.S. defense budget for 2018 likely soars to 0 billion

Updated 2017-01-18 09:24:10 Xinhua

John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee in U.S. senate, is proposing a defense budget for the fiscal year of 2018 worth 640 billion dollars, 54 billion dollars above what had been projected by the outgoing Obama administration.

Combined with a projected 60 billion dollars for a war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account, McCain's plan would bring the country's 2018 defense budget to a total of 700 billion dollars, according to a TheHill news daily report on Tuesday.

"President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to 'fully eliminate the defense sequester' and 'submit a new budget to rebuild our military.' " McCain wrote in a 33-page white paper released over the holiday weekend, attacking the defense budget cut under the Obama era.

McCain's plan would pay for more troops for the Army and Marine Corps, more ships for the Navy and more planes for the Air Force. And over five years, the plan would add 430 billion dollars more than current projections, bringing the defense budget to 800 billion dollars in fiscal 2022.

However, it would require caps on defense spending to be overturned, an action that has eluded Congress since such caps were enacted in 2011 and that fiscal conservatives are expected to continue pushing against, said the TheHill report.

For the Navy, McCain calls the plans to increase the fleet to 355 ships from 274 by 2022 "unrealistic." But, he said, the Navy could by 59 ships in that timeframe; including five fast attack submarines, five fleet oilers, three destroyers, two amphibious ships, two undersea surveillance ships and one aircraft carrier.

McCain said the Marines could add 3,000 troops a year to reach 200,000 by 2022, "with the possibility of exceeding that if operational requirements demand it."

The Marines should also buy 20 more F-35 fighter jets, while the Air Force should buy 73 more, he said.

But the Air Force's goal of ultimately buying 1,763 F-35s "is unrealistic and requires reevaluation, and likely a reduction, of the ultimate size of the F-35 fleet," McCain added.

For the U.S Army, adding 8,000 soldiers a year through 2022 is a "realistic objective," McCain said.

During the election campaign, Trump once laid out his hawk defense plan, pledging an end to mandatory budget caps and spending billions of extra dollars to expand every branch of the military if elected.

The Obama administration has been criticized for overseeing a shrinking of the Pentagon's budget, partly due to the removal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and partly due to the mandatory budget caps.

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